Extension of Notary Public Commissions 

(California Government Code section 8209(a).)

COVID-19 Questions

1. How can I file my notary public oath and bond if the county offices are closed?

Many county clerk/recorder's offices are closed to the public; however, some are still accepting filings by mail. Contact your county clerk/recorder's office to see if they are accepting notary oath filings by mail. If so, the instructions are included in your commission packet.

If you are unable to file your oath and bond with the county clerk/recorder's office within the thirty-day filing period due to office closures, the Secretary of State's office will assist you once the county clerk/recorder's offices open back up. Please contact us at notaries@sos.ca.gov once your county clerk/recorder's office reopens.

2. Are the duties of a notary public considered essential services?

The California Secretary of State’s office encourages all notaries public to follow the guidance provided by public health officials at a federal, state, and local level should they choose to continue to perform notarial acts under the parameters of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20. California notaries public are not prohibited from performing a notarial act during a shelter in place order.  However, preservation of the public health and safety of Californians, including all notaries public, is of the utmost concern so it is recommended that each notary public continue to stay apprised of and operate under any health directives from the Department of Public Health as the situation raised by the COVID-19 pandemic remains fluid.

The Secretary of State will not take action against a notary for having entries in their notary journal during this state of emergency provided the notary otherwise is complying with their notarial duties.

3. Can California Notaries Public perform a notarial act without the physical appearance of the signer (Remote Online Notarization)?

California Law does not provide the authority for California notaries public to perform a remote online notarization. The personal appearance of the document signer is required before the notary public. However, California citizens who wish to have their documents notarized remotely can seek a mobile California notary public. California continues to recognize notarial acts performed outside of California if it is taken in accordance with the law of the place where the acknowledgment is made. (California Civil Code 1189(b)).

4. How do I get something notarized during California's shelter-in-place order?

During this unprecedented time, those seeking notarization may do so safely by contacting a mobile notary. Mobile notaries are individual notaries who travel to a customer's location to perform notarizations. When a mobile notary arrives at an agreed-upon location, they may practice physical distance while observing a customer sign a document. All California notaries public may consider the following guidelines to assist in maintaining proper social distancing:

  1. When you arrive at the customer's location or an individual appears before you, let them know that you want to maintain a safe distance to adhere to CDC guidelines.

  2. From a safe distance, verify the identity of the individual appearing before you.

  3. From a safe distance, perform the notarial act, including all journal entries.

  4. After you have made your journal entries, you may wish to step back to a safe distance while the individual signs your journal and enters their thumbprint, if needed, while still maintaining control and direct line of sight of your journal.

  5. Once the notarization is complete, return the notarized document back to the customer.

5. My Notary Public Commission was extended, but I have received a new commission package, what do I do?

Reappointing notaries public who have received a new commission package must file their oath of office and surety bond with the county clerk’s office within 30 days of the beginning of the term. Once the oath of office and surety bond have been filed, the commission extended by Executive Order N-63-20 and Executive Order N-71-20 is no longer active.